Cedric Villani is an extremely well-known mathematician in France, who was awarded the Fields medal in 2009. The following video shows well his personality and explains a little his conception about the work of mathematicians.
As he points out, mathematics have a very long tradition of excellence in France and some mathematicians, like Villani, are highly respected individuals who give interviews to mainstream medias, write books for the general public and give their opinions about all kind of things. I find that this sharply contrasts the situation in the US, where I think most of the people are not even aware that mathematician is a job or that there exists a research in mathematics. Valorizing mathematics and mathematicians in the mainstream media certainly encourages a lot of vocations in the youth and the US system could benefit from this. There are many other reasons, but I think, it partly explains the striking low proportion of mathematicians, who work in the US and were born, raised and educated here.